August hits and wham -those dreaded three words are everywhere! Back to School. Three words that are the cause of a mom’s stomach ache and headache. Visions of paper work and a suddenly crowded calendar invade the mother’s mind.
Summer flexibility is abruptly replaced by fall schedules.
It isn’t as if I don’t know it’s coming. But for some reason it tends to sneak up on me. (Sort of like how Thanksgiving suddenly appears.) There have been times, I have felt as if getting back into the routine is a good thing. But I never have that feeling until I have made great strides in completing that humongous to do list that accompanies the beginning of the school year.
So I found a few ways to streamline the overwhelming process. (One mom told me she began hyper ventilating when she received all the school paperwork to be completed and she one child.)
1. Don’t procrastinate. As soon as the paperwork comes get on it. Fill out all the children’s sheets at the same time. Pull out all the pertinent information before working on the forms.Typical things most schools need: doctor name and phone number, preferred hospital, insurance information, emergency contacts (I only write down cell or home numbers never the address. No point.)
2. Complete all athletic and participation forms immediately. Many need a doctor’s signature and sometimes that takes a little turn around time.
3. If you are able, schedule your child’s well-check in the summer and bring the forms along. Then you will have accomplished two tasks at once.
4. Shop at home first. See what school supplies can be recycled, reused, and look for unused leftovers from previous years. Often expensive calculators and books on the required reading list can be passed down from one sibling to another.
5. Make school shopping an event. Let each child push his own cart or carry his own basket. Give specific instructions regarding your B2S budget.
6. Label supplies right after shopping. When you arrive home and the kids are still excited about their new supplies, have them label each item. Unless they don’t know how to write yet, this is a good thing for the children to do. It frees up the parent and makes the students responsible for their things.
7. Finish by organizing backpacks.Then have the kids go ahead and load their backpacks.
Getting the kids involved in some of the process makes it more fun, increases the sense of ownership, and helps to psychologically prepare them for going back to school.
After you have accomplished these items the headache and stomach aches will disappear and you will be able to enjoy the last couple of weeks of summer break with your kids.
Your Turn: How do you beat the back to school scramble?
© LoriWildenberg. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 Parenting.com. She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.